Honey & Lemon Sore Throat Candy Drops

These yummy herbal candy drops are made with lemon and honey to help soothe sore throats and coughs.

Sore Throat Honey Candy Drops Made with Lemon & Honey

A common home remedy for soothing sore throats is lemon juice mixed with honey; however, that isn’t always easy to swallow, especially if you’re a kid.

That’s where these tasty little sore throat candy drops come in.

Some links in this article are affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I earn a small commission for sending a customer their way.

The inspiration for these came from the Herb Candies recipe found in the book Eat Well Feel Well by Kendall Conrad,  which is a really great grain-free, refined-sugar-free cookbook, if you like cooking somewhat on the gourmet side.

Since I never can follow any recipe exactly, I ended up with something a little different, but just as delicious.

honey, lemon, lemon balm leaves, and butter

Honey and Lemon Sore Throat Candy Drops

  • 1 stick of butter (1/4 lb or 113 grams) (or 6 tbsp coconut oil)
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1/8 cup of water
  • 1 lemon
  • (optional) a handful of lemon balm

Here’s where the optional part comes in:

I wanted to give these a little anti-viral boost so I gathered a handful of lemon balm (melissa) from my garden and blended them up with a few tablespoons of water.

Once blended well, strain the lemon balm/water blend into a teacup and set aside until after the mixture cooks.

If you don’t have fresh lemon balm, you could try fresh mint instead, or use your favorite herbal tea to replace the lemon balm/water mixture in the recipe.

Directions to Make:

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add the honey, vinegar, and water. Turn the heat to medium-high to high and bring to a boil. This happens rather rapidly with my stove and within five minutes, the mixture rises to 250 degrees. At this point, the original recipe says to maintain the temperature for twelve minutes by adjusting the heat lower.

Mine ends up ready (300 degrees F) well before the 12 minute mark, so be prepared that that might happen, depending on your stove and cooking temperature. Stir periodically during this time.

Keep cooking until it gets close to 300 degrees F, then add:

  • 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
  • OR 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and 1 Tablespoon herbal mixture

Be careful here! The added liquids cause a flare up of bubbles and a bit of spattering which quickly subsides upon stirring. Boil for one more minute, removing early if you’re concerned it’s starting to scorch.

Immediately pour into a parchment lined 8×8-inch pan.

Once cool, remove from the pan and cut into strips then tiny squares. You’ll want to use two hands for cutting; one to hold the knife in place while the palm of the other presses against the back of the blade (the dull side!) all the way through to the cutting board in one clean rocking motion. Don’t do a back and forth sawing thing; it’s a bit too sticky at this point for that.

Cutting Lemon & Honey Cough Drops

If kept in the refrigerator, these have a cough-drop-type texture that’s perfect for soothing the sore throat of a big kid or adult. They’re just as delicious at room temperature, but will have a soft caramel-like consistency.

As a final reminder, you don’t have to be sick to enjoy these!

This recipe was first posted in April 2012, and was updated for December 2019.




Subscribe to the Monthly Maker and receive:

  • Build Your Own Salve eGuide
  • 18 Herbs & Flowers for Salves Chart
  • Salve Building Printable Worksheet
  • A Monthly Email with Natural Project Ideas

By subscribing to our newsletter, you agree to the terms of our privacy policy.

honey and lemon herbal sore throat candy drops
Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. These look wonderful! Do you think they would work without the lemon grass? I don’t have any of that but would like to try these.

    1. Yes! You can leave out the herbs and just put lemon juice. Or you could put all herb juice. I would think a tablespoon or two of any type liquid/juice would work OR you could try leaving out the liquid and just have a honey candy. :)

      1. What do you mean by “mine ends up ready”?( what constitutes ready) in the following instructions: Mine ends up ready well before the 12 minute mark.

        Thank you!!

        1. Hi! The book instructs us to turn the temperature down once it reaches 250 degrees, then after that it will take about 12 minutes to get to the 300 degrees needed. I find that my mixture shoots up to 300 degrees much faster than 12 minutes! There’s probably a trick to it or it could be because I have the cheapest electric range that the store had or I’m just too impatient to turn it low enough. But, whenever it reaches 300 degrees, it’s ready. Just be aware that it might reach that point much quicker than you might think! Hope that helped explain myself better! :)

          1. Hello again! I made some this morning, they look just like your pictures, cut them up with sharp kitchen scissors, the taste is wonderful and approved by all in the house.
            Thank you!!!

          2. Probably the difference in readiness has to do with altitude. At 4,000 feet my candy cooks much faster. These look awesome, I will be getting some good herbs and making them.

  2. Wow, I never thought to make our own sore throat drops. This is way too easy not to try :) Any idea how long they keep? Thanks for another awesome recipe…repinning!

    1. Hi Sarah, Thanks for pinning! This recipe made a huge plateful, which I kept in the refrigerator, wrapped in wax paper, and between the three of us with sore throats, we used them all up within one week. They stayed fresh and tasty for that entire time. I would think after a week, you may want to store in the freezer, but that is just a guess – what I would do anyway! :)

  3. I could have used these last week! I’m going to make some for next time and put them in the freezer—-well at least the ones I don’t eat! Thanks for sharing, and I pinned it! :D

  4. What a great idea!! I am pinning this. Thanks for stopping by. It’s so fun to get ideas from others!!

  5. These sounds awesome! I think I’ll make some and put in the freezer, too. I sure won’t feel like making them when I need them. Thanks!

  6. Pingback: Rose-Petal Peppermint Drops | The Nerdy Farm Wife
  7. I can’t wait to make these, they almost look like a better version of caramel I think. And I happen to have a -huge- lemon balm plant out front that I’m going to use for this too. ^^ Thankyou!

  8. I just made these as a treat (no lemon available so I did all mint tea, fresh made from dried mint). I know the kids will love this little treat after dinner tonight! :) Thanks!!!

      1. Oh they loved it and my husband said it was like eating caramels! :) This will definitely be used as both treat and medicine in my household for sure. I’m all about home remedies and always have at least three tinctures on hand at all times: ginger, anise and elderberry. I’m more than happy to add this to my “medicine” cabinet. :) thanks!

        1. OH and I use local raw honey – always! Adding this to my 9 year old son’s daily diet will help him with his raging allergies since the honey is made with pollen from our vicinity! :) BONUS!

          1. That is excellent! :) Grandpa, who lives next door, just harvested more honey from his hives and shared some with us. Nothing like local raw honey!

  9. This is wonderful! I even have all the ingredients. Pinning to make when I need them. :) Thanks for sharing at my Pinteresting Party this week.

  10. Hi, just found your blog via another and really like it!
    This recipe looks like just what our family needs this winter (yes, it’s winter over here now). Could you please tell me how many grams are in 1 stick of butter?
    Thanks – looking forward to making some of these.

    1. Hi Penny! Thanks for stopping by. A stick of butter is 1/4 of a pound so 113 grams. Now that I look back at what I wrote, I see I was quite vague! So, I’m very glad you asked. I’m going to edit the post to clarify the amount. I hope you enjoy these and stay nice and warm this winter! :)

  11. I think I saw someone mention it, but can I use the insides of peppermint tea bags instead of the herbs?

    1. Yes, you sure can! You could just keep it in the tea bag to steep since you’re going to strain it anyway. Less mess! :)

  12. I wonder if these would work with half lemon and half elderberry syrup? I may have to try!

    1. That is a fabulous idea! Especially with flu season not too far away! I think I will try that idea soon too! :)

  13. Pingback: Two Easy Honey Candy Recipes | The Nerdy Farm Wife
  14. We just whipped these up in less than 15 minutes & the kids loved what they got to taste while it was cooling!! Everyone is complaining of sore throats, so this is the BOMB!! Thanks!!

    1. Oops! I forgot to clarify that! :) Most any kind can do – I usually stick with apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.

  15. Oh my goodness. Just whipped these up! So good. I can’t stop eating them! One comment I have, is that it took mine a long time to get to 250, then suddenly it zipped up to 300, I think because they scorched. They have that darker, slightly burnt-sugar smell to them. I panicked when the thermometer suddenly raced to 300 and poured it into the pan without adding the lemon, either! So, for the record, they work fine without any lemon or herbs, but next time, I’m gonna go with the 250-for-12-minutes plan.

    1. That sounds like a great idea! I need to reword how I wrote my instructions to clarify that that’s probably the way to go! Glad you liked them! I find them slightly addictive too. :)

  16. The first wave of sore throats just hit us and I just poured these into the pan. I added a couple drops of Peppermint essential oil and used a tea bag of chamomile as well as the lemon and it all smells AMAZING! Thank You for this! What book did you get the recipe from?
    Andrea from thisrednecklife.blogspot.com

    1. They sound wonderful! I hope they help your sore throats! I adapted it from a recipe from a book called Eat Well Feel Well by Kendall Conrad- there’s a link to it up above near the top of the post in the second paragraph. I see I forgot to underline it, I’ll do that now. :) Feel better! :)

  17. Hey,
    Would a butter substitute work? I’m lactose intolerant and a rather sensitive one at that. This is a really cool idea though!

    1. Hi Mandy, You could certainly try it and see how it turns out! My son was dairy free for quite a while – for a time we used the one tub margarine I could find that was gluten, dairy and soy free, but then I later switched to coconut oil and ghee, but now I use real butter mostly. I know I’ve made candy with all of these, but I can’t remember exact details now – it’s been a while! Some of my candy recipes are based off of ones that would use sugar or corn syrup – I just swap out some honey and experiment around until something works that I like – I say go for it and see! If it works, you have a new treat you can have! :)

  18. They sound wonderful! I was wondering if I could substitute Coconut Oil for the butter? Or perhaps something else to make them more vegan friendly?

    1. I think you could definitely try it out! I’ve made candy with coconut oil instead of butter before, but it’s been a while and it wasn’t this recipe. When subbing coconut oil, I usually measure out the amount called for in the recipe, then remove a big chunk of it. (Yes, I measure in “chunks” lol. But, I’m working on standardizing my recipes!) :) So, that’s what I’d do here – maybe use 3/4 of the amount which would be 6 Tablespoons of coconut oil. That’s where I’d start if it were me, then I’d try it and adjust from there. You may want even less… If you try it out, let me know how it works!

  19. Bonus that my school nurse said I could send these in, even though I couldn’t send in cough/ throat drops. Thank you!

  20. Thanks so much for posting this recipe! I just made some this morning, but for some reason they separated. Any idea what I did wrong? Thanks in advance for any tips. :-)

    1. Hi Kristin! This problem cropped up before for someone making Honey Tootsie Rolls also (that recipe is loosely based on this one.)

      I found this informative post that might give you some ideas:


      I’ve not had separation issues (Yet!) but I do know when it’s humid, my candy tends to be stickier.

      I’m sorry you had that happen and I hope one of those ideas in the troubleshooting article helps you out! :)

  21. Thanks so much, Jan. I’ll check out that Website and try again. They’re quite pretty separated, actually. ;)

  22. Made these today in anticipation of cold weather sore throats. Threw most of them in the freezer, ate a handful of them w/ the kiddos and put a few in the fridge to try tomorrow. They are so yummy!! Thank you!

  23. I so wish I had this recipe last month a few of my friends got hit with a nasty virus which included sore throats. Bookmarked for future reference! Looks like a pretty easy recipe to follow. Thanks!

  24. Pingback: Natural Ways To Prevent & Treat The Common Cold «
  25. I just made the honey-lemon- sore- throat-candy- drops, and I love them helped my throat a lot ,Thank you so much for the recipe.

  26. Hi I found you through the GF blog hop, these look great. I wish we could do butter, but we are dairy free now. I miss our butter. It made things so easy. Like making these.

    1. Hi Maryann! We were dairy free for many years, so I feel your pain! You should be able to sub out coconut oil in this recipe – around 6 Tablespoons. (I always use less coconut oil when subbing for butter.) I want to make some hopefully today or tomorrow with coconut oil and then I can see for sure what adjustments need to be made! :)

  27. Wow, these look so great! I can’t wait to make some. My family is just now getting over a horrible cold, but I’m sure we’ll have another soon enough.

  28. Just a warning – use an old pan and cheap ingredients to try this! I almost lost a good pan, and threw out good organic ingredients after ending up with burn flavored stuff. Are you supposed to stir it or something while it boils? I followed directions carefully!

    1. Hi there littlelulu, I’m so sorry you had trouble with your batch of honey candy!

      I have a few ideas that may help us pinpoint what went wrong. Did you use a thick, heavy duty pan for cooking? Thinner ones can let the candy scorch on the bottom.

      The candy shouldn’t have any type of burnt smell to it. Did you calibrate your thermometer to be sure it was accurate? Here’s a link that tells you how to use boiling water to do so and while not a perfect test, it will give you an idea how far off your thermometer is and in what direction. Mine is off ten degrees, so if I cook to 300 degrees F, then it would burn the honey for sure.

      You do want to stir this periodically, but you don’t have to constantly.

      Also, humidity plays a factor as to whether candy turns out well or not, so if the day is rainy or humid, more problems are likely to occur.

      As soon as you pour the hot mixture into your parchment lined pan, then you can run hot water into your cooking pot to let it soak a bit before scrubbing- that will make cleanup a lot easier!

      I’m so sorry it didn’t work for you – I know how frustrating it is when a recipe fails!

      1. Thanks for the tips! ok i confess i never made candy before and i ran over and borrowed the candy thermometer from my neighbor. So i need to take a step backwards and learn some basics!

  29. YUM AND they help your throat! Double bonus!
    Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)

    Be sure to check out the winning entry this week for our Better Batter Giveaway! The winner will be announced Thursday evening!

    See you there!

    Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

      1. I am very happy to feature this recipe as one of the favorites at Gluten Free Fridays! We have a “I’ve been featured” button located on our “Gluten Free Fridays” tab and we’d love it if you’d add it to your post or blog! Thanks for sharing your glutenfree post!

        You can find your button here: http://vegetarianmamma.com/gluten-free-fridays/

  30. Pingback: #glutenfreefridays 22 is live! Come share your #glutenfree knowledge! | Vegetarian Mamma
  31. Thanks so much for this recipe, my kids haven’t been able to have sweets due to allergies but they can have these. I made them with 6 tbsps of coconut oil instead of butter and they came out great :-)

    1. I’m so happy to hear they turned out great for you, with the coconut oil substitution! I hope your kids enjoy! :)

  32. Hi,how did you manage to tell the temperature of the candy?If you used a thermometer,is there any other way to tell the temperature?The candy you made looks DE-LI-CIOUS by the way :)
    I am going to try this very soon as my sister and brother both have sore throats…THANKS for the recipe! :D

  33. Pingback: Favorite Cold & Flu Remedies The Nerdy Farm Wife
  34. I am allergic to milk, is there a way to substitute something for the butter?

          1. Wow ! I have a sore throat right now they worked and also they don’t have that bitter taste like the store bought cough drops ! Amazing !

  35. The only problem is that the candies turned out to be kind of liquidy

    1. Hey Jaqueline! I’m glad to hear that the cough drops worked well for your throat! :)

      They shouldn’t be liquidy though – a few troubleshooting ideas: Maybe next time cook them a bit longer, thermometers are often not precise. Or, if it was humid/rainy/snowy weather – that could affect the outcome. Or, if you used coconut oil, try a bit less in the next batch. You can still store them in the freezer instead of the fridge and that could help keep this batch firm.

      I hope your sore throat is feeling better soon! :)

  36. Yeah I guess there are so many reasons why it turned out to be like liquid because it was raining outside and I think the 6 tablespoons was a bit to much , but thank you though

  37. Hi Jan,

    I wrote you last year — almost to the day! — about my caramels separating. I just made them again, and once again, they separated! I don’t undestand what I’m doing wrong! This time I used cocounut oil, and only about 100 grams. I boiled it all in a Le Creuset pot (very heavy!), stirring periodically, and got the temp up to 300 and then lo and behold… it separated. Maybe I’m forcing the cooling process by refrigerating it? Do you just let it sit out on the countertop until it cools? I just thought that that would take too much time… Thanks for any tips.


    1. Oh dear! I’m sorry that they separated on you again! It sounds like you did everything right. I do let these sit on the counter to cool though, before I cut & refrigerate. I made a batch of honey caramels a few weeks ago and had my first separation incident. It wasn’t a lot, but they felt a bit oily when I cut them and when I refrigerated them, they had a thin layer of butter form over the top. They still held their shape and still tasted yummy, so it wasn’t a waste at least. I did everything like usual except it was really cloudy and I was trying to make them before the rain came in. (Which it did within an hour of making them.) So, maybe humidity in my case?? I’m just not sure what else to tell you to try, but I am so sorry that happened!!

      1. Hi Jan,

        Thanks for your comment and sharing your experience. It’s not very humid where I am – I live in Stockholm, Sweden, but maybe it has to do somehow with the barometric pressure? Can we complicate things a bit more! Lol. They’re still delicious, but I’d just love for them to look as caramel-y as yours! Not like a two-layer caramel. Alas… I’ll keep trying. I love all your recipes. Thank you for sharing them. :)

  38. I made these and they are delish! I hate the cough drops out on the market. They taste so nasty, and the ones that taste good don’t work. One change I made while making these is I used a powder puff brush and lightly dusted them with cornstarch and wrapped them in parchment paper. The cornstarch kept them from sticking to the paper and it allows me to carry them with me on the go.

  39. Hi There
    I made the cough drops today but I don’t think that I let the temperature get high enough for long enough. It was a triple batch and I can’t let the honey go to waste. Can I re heat the mixture and try again?
    Please help!

    1. Hi Kimiko! What temperature did the mixture reach? How soft are they? Depending on what stage they’re in, if you pop them in the freezer, they should firm up.

  40. Thank you for this recipe, and also thank you for using honey and Beeswax in so many of your recipes and projects. I know from what I read it came out of necessity but I am grateful as my husband and I are commercial beekeepers and I love trying new recipes with honey and beeswax and sharing with my local beekeeper friends. I have a very picky 9yr old that fights me evey inch of the way anytime he may get sick. I think these will be a perfect solution for him.

    1. I’m glad you like the recipes and thanks for sharing with your friends! I hope your little guy enjoys these cough drops too!

  41. I would like to try these but I am dairy free and allergic to coconut is there anything else I can use I also can not use margarine because it has corn and I can not have that either.

  42. Can’t wait to try this! Sounds delicious. So for the herbal liquid addition, can I use a tincture? 1 TBSP Astralagus tincture? The reason I ask is because it’s made with alcohol, I wasn’t sure if that would affect anything? Thank you!!

    1. Hi Sarah! You sure can add a tincture (and astragalus root is an excellent choice). The main thing is to take care doing it, since it might sputter and splatter quite a bit as the alcohol meets the heat. Keep a lid handy in case you have to pop it over the pan for a few seconds while it settles down.

Comments are closed.